Frequently Asked Questions
From Why This Way
What is the purpose of this?
There are multiple purposes of this group. One of the main goals is to create an organized religious institution whose institutional structure is in harmony with the belief system it represents. Another goal is to promote greater respect in the public dialogue about religion. Another goal is to address or solve problems in society and build a healthier society.
How is this a religion?
When we started Why This Way, we identified it as a religion, but we have since established that we do not have a consensus about whether or not it is a religion. Different people have different ideas of what constitutes a religion. Some of the people who were instrumental in founding Why This Way have always been skeptical of calling the group a religion, and/or do not identify Why This Way as their religion.
We initially chose to call our group a religion because it presents a system of beliefs which encompasses all aspects of life, and because we believed that calling it a religion would make it more powerful for transforming people's lives and society.
How is this different from Unitarian Universalism?
Why This Way shares many similarities with Unitarian Universalism (UU). Both groups embrace the inherent worth of all people as a core belief, and both encourage people with a broad range of beliefs to come together under a common umbrella. Why This Way differs from UU, however, in a few key ways. It may be helpful to refer to the Unitarian Universalist Principles for comparison. Some of the key differences include:
- UU values the democratic process, looks to promote the democratic process in society at large, and uses the democratic process within its own congregations; Why This Way is not democratically run, and instead emphasises a consensus-based model of decisionmaking which is inspired by the Wikipedia's Consensus Process and the Quaker (Society of Friends) Consensus Process.
- UU emphasizes justice; Why This Way is cautious about the concept of justice. Different people have different ideas of what constitutes justice, and the question of justice can be highly controversial. Justice is also tied to a notion of how things "should" be, a framework for thinking and communicating about things that Why This Way avoids.
- Why This Way has a detailed and involved set of rules of communication that guide the group's meetings, discussions, and official literature. Although the beliefs and practice of UU may mesh closely with some of the goals and intentions behind these principles, and although UU's may embrace some of these practices on their own, there is no analogue of these rules in UU.
What do you believe in?
Our group has an official set of beliefs which is continuously evolving, and which we agree upon by consensus. But we do not require anyone to agree with all of our beliefs in order to participate in our group. People active in our group hold a wide range of differing beliefs, both on spiritual matters, and about how the world works.